China Approves National Park and Sanctuary for the World’s Most Endangered Big Cats
Chinese officials have approved plans to establish a national park that will serve as a sanctuary for two of the world’s most endangered big cats — the Amur leopard and tiger.
The Amur leopard is known as the “world’s rarest cat.” In 2007, there were less than 30 across the world. As of 2015, the global population has more than doubled with 12 spotted around China, according to the World Wildlife Fund.
As for the Amur tiger, which is perhaps more commonly referred to as the Siberian tiger, there were only about 40 existing in the wild in the 1940s. Today, that number is around 400 — with over 30 roaming near China, according to Mongabay.com.
The national park is to be established in the Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces and will span 5,600 square miles — which is huge. The Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming is 60 percent smaller, to give you some perspective.
The final plan for the park will be rolled out by 2020, according to Xinhua.
Although this is a positive initiative, residents of the area around the park have expressed concerns that the big cats have been getting very close to them.
According to the Huffington Post, last July, two dogs were eaten by an Amur tiger that may have wandered near the city’s downtown. And, another resident said his cattle were hunted by the predators these past few months.
Fortunately, the park should alleviate these concerns. A rescue center is to be established as well.
According to the Wildlife Conversation Society, all seven species of big cats are officially “threatened” or “near threatened” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources Red List, with the tiger and snow leopard being “endangered.”
And if you’re itching for more on the matter, check out what’s been going with the wild bumblebees, another endangered species which apparently Donald Trump’s administration doesn’t appear to care for.